Expectations are a powerful thing. A company can make money and its stock will drop if they are not met. Expectations ran high in the Car and Driver office for the electrified Ram 1500 REV ever since Ram CEO Mike Koval got our attention back in 2021 when he made promises about the electric version of the regular half-ton Ram then on its way.
At the time, Koval announced that while the brand’s EV truck would arrive after the competition, it would not follow in their footsteps. He claimed that a 2024 launch date would be an advantage, allowing Ram to compete with the EV pickups from Ford and General Motors.
Fast forward to last month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we were blown away by the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV concept and our expectations for the production truck rose even higher.
A month later, while watching the Super Bowl, an innuendo-filled ad teased the real Ram 1500 REV and offered several laugh-out-loud moments. However, when we finally got a good look at the production model, we had a collective “What the?”
Admittedly, we don’t have all the technical details, but the most striking part is how little the REV looks like the concept and how much it looks like the current gas-powered model. Now, no one expected the production version of the Ram EV to be as wild as the concept. We all know they are just that, conceptualizations. So the show truck’s exaggerated proportions, pillarless coach doors and even its electrochromic glass roof were not features we expected to reach customers.
What we did hope was that the innovative and useful features of the concept might make it to production – the folding center gate to extend the pickup’s bed into the cabin, for example. The original Chevy Avalanche had a center port, for Pete’s sake, a feature that will return on the upcoming Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.
By opening the bed to the cab, Ram’s concept also provided a passageway to allow long, narrow objects to slide through the truck’s cab and into the front trunk. It seems to have fallen away. The elimination of the concept’s center hatch means that the intriguing third-row jump seats integrated into it are also missing.
As for the interior, it doesn’t draw too many complaints as Rams have attractive cabins with premium materials, but it’s essentially the same design as its petrol counterparts with the exception of the display for the front seat passenger, just like the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. It’s neat, but it doesn’t break the mold.
It’s not just the concept that fueled our dreams for an EV Ram pickup. Ram is late, but the lateness doesn’t seem to have created any competitive advantage or driven any major innovation.
Again, range, power and other specs remain unknown — prove us wrong, Ram — but converting the gas-powered version into an EV is exactly what Ford did with its F-150 Lightning. In 2021, Koval claimed the electric Ram 1500 would deliver 500 miles of driving range. He also said it will “redefine the full-size segment” and outperform competitors, suggesting it will exceed the Lightning’s 10,000-pound towing capacity. If the production truck hits those high marks, it will be enough to beat Ford and GM.
Currently, the Lightning has an EPA-rated range as high as 320 miles, the GMC Hummer EV achieves 329 miles, and GM aims for 400 miles per charge with the electric Silverado and Sierra. However, none of the GM trucks are on the market yet. Ram’s 500 miles on a single charge would make it a segment leader, if not at the top of the EV class.
But that number is likely to come thanks to a confirmed range-extending version with a petrol engine. A range extender (as the name suggests) will also help increase the battery’s range while towing. Ram’s REV may go beyond pure EV pickups, but a plug-in hybrid is not the same thing as a battery electric vehicle (BEV).
Want to tow with an EV pickup? We can think of better things to do, but we’ll talk about towing capacity anyway. The Rivian R1T leads the segment with its rating of up to 11,000 pounds, more than any other electric pickup truck. Stay tuned to see if Ram will be able to beat that bogey, which Koval was referring to.
However, based on how one-upmanship traditionally works in the pickup wars, expect the Ram 1500 REV to barely edge out its rivals rather than tussle over them. A maximum tow rating of 10,500 pounds (or 11,500 pounds) seems achievable, but that would only make the REV best-in-class by a thin margin.
There is still hope
Besides offering a gas-powered range extender, the production version of the Ram 1500 REV isn’t the game changer we thought it would be.
Of course, there is still hope that the truck will live up to expectations. More details are coming, and it’s possible that a bunch of innovative features aren’t obvious in the handful of photos we’ve seen so far. However, from the looks of it – with the exception of a plug-in hybrid version – Ram’s EV isn’t a big step forward in technology and design. Mostly we blame the draft for writing a check that the production truck seems unable to cash.